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Biking And Walking Crashes

Summary of Bicycle and Pedestrian Crash Characteristics

In the 1996 study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration (Pedestrian and Bicycle Crash Types of the Early 1990's, FHWA-RD-95- 163), 5,000 pedestrian and 3,000 bicycle crashes in 5 States were studied extensively in order to code crash types, determine the specific factors associated with the crash types, and to identify how countermeasures could be used to reduce the frequency of crashes. The following is a summary of the findings of the study.

Pedestrian-Motor Vehicle Crash Sample Summary

Compared to their representation in the overall U.S. population, young persons (under 25 years of age) were overrepresented in pedestrian crashes with motor vehicles, while older adults (ages 25 to 44) and the elderly (age 65+) were underrepresented. Elderly pedestrians in crashes, however, were more than twice as likely to be killed (15 percent versus 6 percent) compared to young persons.

Collisions with motor vehicles led to serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians in more than 33 percent of the crashes.

Alcohol or drug use was noted in about 15 percent of pedestrian crashes overall, but increased to 31 percent for pedestrians in the 25 to 44 age group. Alcohol/drug crashes were also more frequent on weekends and during the hours of darkness.

Pedestrian crashes occurred most frequently during the late afternoon and early evening hours, times when exposure is probably highest and visibility may be a problem.

About two-thirds of the crashes were categorized as urban. Fifteen percent of the pedestrian crashes reported occurred on private property, primarily in commercial or other parking lots. The elderly were overrepresented in commercial parking lot crashes, young adults in non-commercial parking lot crashes, and children under age 10 in collisions occurring in driveways, alleys, or yards.

Nearly 60 percent of the road-related crashes occurred on two-lane roadways. Serious and fatal injuries to pedestrians were directly proportional to speed limit and number of lanes.

Forty-one percent of crashes occurred at roadway intersections, and an additional 8 percent occurred in driveways or alley intersections.

The pedestrian was judged to be solely at fault in 43 percent of the crashes. Running into the road, failure to yield, alcohol impairment, stepping out from between parked vehicles, and walking or running in the wrong direction (with traffic) were the most frequently cited pedestrian contributing factors. Younger pedestrians were more likely to be at fault.

Motor vehicle drivers were judged to be solely at fault in 35 percent of the crashes. Driver hit and run and failure to yield were the most frequently cited driver contributing factors, followed by improper backing, safe movement violations, and exceeding safe speed. Only 3 percent of motor vehicle drivers striking pedestrians were judged to have been impaired by alcohol.

More than three-fourths of pedestrian crashes fell into one of the following eight crash-type categories: vehicle turn/merge (9.8 percent), intersection dash (7.2 percent), other intersection (10.1 percent), midblock dart/dash (13.3 percent), other midblock (13.2 percent), not in roadway/waiting to cross (8.6 percent), walking along roadway (7.9 percent), and backing vehicle (6.9 percent). These and the other seven major crash-type categories discussed in this report varied with respect to the pedestrian, driver, locational/environmental, and roadway factors that characterized them. It is critically important for individual States and communities to develop a better understanding of the particular traffic situations endangering their residents.

Bicycle-Motor Vehicle Crash Sample Summary

The basic bicycle-motor vehicle crash patterns are similar to those seen in the late 1970's. Intersections, driveways, and other junctions continue to be locations where about three-fourths of the crashes occur. Emerging facilities should be designed with this fact in mind.

Compared with their representation in the overall U.S. population, young bicyclists under the age of 15 (and particularly ages 10 to 14) were overrepresented in crashes with motor vehicles, while older adults (ages 25 to 44) and the elderly (age 65+) were under- represented. However, bicyclists older than age 44 were overrepresented with regard to serious and fatal injury.

Collisions with motor vehicles led to serious and fatal injuries to bicyclists in just over 18 percent of the crashes.

Alcohol or drug use was noted in about 5 percent of bicycle crashes overall, but increased to 15 percent for bicyclists in the 25 to 44 age group. This may be an emerging problem. Alcohol-drug crashes were more frequent on weekends and during hours of darkness.

About two-thirds of the bicyclist crashes occurred during late afternoon and early evening hours. Exposure is likely quite high during these hours, and visibility can be a problem.

About two-thirds of the crashes were categorized as urban. About 7 percent occurred on private property. Bicyclists less than 10 years old were somewhat overrepresented in crashes in housing-related parking lots, driveways, alleys, and private roads.

About 60 percent of the road-related crashes occurred on two-lane roadways. Roads with narrower lanes and roads with higher speed limits were associated with more than their share of serious and fatal injuries to bicyclists.

Bicyclists were judged to be at fault in about half of these crashes with motor vehicles. Bicyclists need training about how to ride in traffic. Failure to yield, riding against traffic, stop sign violations, and safe movement violations were the most frequently cited bicyclist contributing factors. The likelihood of the bicyclist being responsible for the crash was greatest for the younger bicyclists. When the crash-involved bicyclist was older, the motor vehicle driver was more likely to be at fault.

Motor vehicle drivers were judged to be solely at fault in 28 percent of the cases. Failure to yield, hit and run, and failure to see the bicyclists were the most frequently cited driver contributing factors.

The bicycle-motor vehicle crashes were divided into the three main categories as such:

    Parallel-path events 36 percent

    Crossing-path events 57 percent

    Specific circumstances 7 percent

The most frequent parallel-path crashes were motorist turn/merge into bicyclist's path (12.2 percent), motorist overtaking the bicyclist (8.6 A memorial to a bicyclist killed at a busy intersection in Newark, DE. percent), and bicyclist turn/merge into motorist's path (7.3 percent). The most frequent crossing-path crashes were motorist failed to yield to bicyclist (21.7 percent), bicyclist failed to yield at an intersection (16.8 percent), and bicyclist failed to yield midblock (11.8 percent). These six individual crash types accounted for almost 80 percent of all bicycle-motor vehicle crashes.

This information came from a
FHWA online article.

*** Any law, statute, regulation or other precedent is subject to change at any time ***

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